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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Bowl (2011), Off Season review: "La Strolla Continua..."

   Hello, Clarice.

Miss me?

I trust you all had a wildly therapeutic time, far away from thinking about the psychosis that is Notre Dame football.

Yes, I'm a bit slow on this final, Season 2011 ending recap.  I know.  I take solace (and defense) in something the über-excellent German novelist Thomas Mann once said…  that a writer is someone for whom writing is more difficult that it is for other people.  Did you know that James Joyce took to write "Ulysses" - regarded by many as the greatest novel of the 20th century - at a rate of 100 words a day?  I know - the closest any of you ('cept Perez and Gruley) will ever get to Joyce is drinking next autumn in one of the Dublin pubs he frequently enjoyed. 

How about TS Eliot, one of the greatest poets our country has ever produced, only wrote about 150 pages of poetry over the course of his entire career?

At any rate, in the aftermath of ND's latest disappointment, I struggled to find words for adequately expressing my disconsolate state of mind. Motivation, gone.  Mojo, gone.  It was the holidays, after all.  And my birthday!  (More on that later.)  I must get my way - it's a rule in the Corrigan household, for godssakes.  But no.  The struggle continues…

So it feels appropriate to use a child-like expression to sum up all the angst and frustration I felt - and so I share:

Bring on 2012.

Song of the Week                             

I'm not sure I've nominated a Led Zeppelin song before but if ever one captured where the program sits, relative to 'returning to glory' it's this - "Over The Hills And Far Away".

Many have I loved - Many times been bitten.
Many times I've wondered how much there is to know.

Mellow is the man who knows what he's been missing
Many, many men can't see the open road.

Many is a word that only leaves you guessing
Guessing 'bout a thing you really ought to know…

The operative words, of course, are 'bitten', 'wondered', 'guessing' and inevitably, 'ought to know'.


It all started off so innocently… so benign.  Watching the game at Jerry's apartment w fellow birthday celebrant, Feif.  Giddy w excitement (Feif gave me a fine wine and Jerry provided a bottle of Hendricks bigger than my head), optimism was in the air. I should've known it wasn’t going to end well.

The Notre Dame Football Experience:  See Nothing Competent, Speak Nothing Competent, Hear Nothing Competent

Observations from The Game
Taking a walk down masochistic Memory Lane, I'll be brief.  Most of you have probably, happily, jettisoned these thoughts. If you're riding a pleasant dopamine rush, perhaps you'll want to skip to the next section.  In a relatively chronological fashion…

"Your special teams play frightens and confuses me..."
      ·         Michael Floyd returns a punt. As it turns out,  a long way. Wow. Is that even legal?

     ·         Tommy throws an INT from the 3 yd. line. That can't be easy to do.  The TV analyst reports that it's ND's 7th redzone turnover this year.  And who says consistency isn't a virtue?
     ·         In a year of stupid on-field decisions, Prince Shembo steps up.  He abuses the FSU QB unnecessarily - gets called for it, correctly - and keeps an FSU drive alive.  Knucklehead or poorly coached?  Can't hang that one on Diaco.
"Et tu, Michael?"
     ·         Great pressure defense - where's that been all year?
     ·         Jimbo Fisher coaches like someone named Jimbo.
     ·         Michael Floyd drops an almost certain TD pass.

     ·         Fast forward to late Q3:  another reason to dislike Tommy - his wonky throw led directly to Floyd getting hurt - absolutely crushed in the sternum.
     ·         Special teams immediately give up 77 yd. KO return.  As I said, consistency…
     ·         Where did the blitz go?
     ·         Amazing how dramatically our secondary regressed from last year.
     ·         FSU's top two CB's are now injured.  Normally, that would represent 'advantage, ND'. Today, not so much.
     ·         While Tommy continually throws into double coverage and ends scoring drives, Hendrix has the shortest hook of anyone on the planet not named Dayne.
     ·         Perfect year end symmetry, "Theo Riddick back to receive the punt…"

In fact, this game was a pretty pure capsule summary of the whole year:  periods of brilliance on D, followed by inexplicable breakdowns on special teams and soul crushing, self-inflicted gaffes on offense.

Thankfully, the evening deteriorated, happily, into other, more esoteric areas, like Jerry's zeal for the following night's REO Speedwagon concert and his commitment the next morning to his periodic CNBC talking head gig.  Two topics we discovered, ultimately not mutually exclusive as Jerry was cajoled into making an REO reference during his report.  He made three. No one likes an overachiever, Jer.

"I'm doing my next CNBC report as an interpretive dance. Here, the market is like an elegant pterodactyl!"

Thanks again Jerry, Tom and spouses, for the fun night.


"I was told there'd be cake…"

If The Champs Bowl was a movie poster, it’d be… “Saw II”


  "Oh Yes, There Will Be Blood"             

For those of you who familiar with this franchise (and I consider myself an, ahem, aficionado) the films are characterized by repeated pain and cringe inducing tortures - increasingly creative in a wholly twisted sort of way - that leave you thinking "no, no they're not going to do that… ohmygod they ARE going to do that… I can't watch any more… I can't turn away…"

Kind of like watching Notre Dame Football 2011 - 'torture porn' for the sports loving Domer.

So after concluding a season with disappointingly desultory performances in every big game that mattered, who ultimately was really surprised that the FSU game was so ugly?   So yes, there was blood.  The only question is whether Kelly can find a tourniquet this offseason.

Word of the Week

Snafu.   Not so much a real word as a bonafide military-based acronym that's been assimilated into the American vernacular and now used as a real word.

sna·fu noun \sna-ˈfü, ˈsna-ˌfü\

·         a situation marked by errors or confusion : muddle; also : an error causing such a situation <a scheduling snafu>
·         Situation  Normal  All  Fucked  Up (military)

First Known Use:  circa 1941

Used in a sentence:  "Notre Dame's disappointing performance in The Champs Bowl represented yet another snafu in their effort to return to respected status…"

Year End…  The GOLDEN BUDDY Award.
Defensively, there were actually a few pretty stellar performances in that game - ones that give one guarded optimism for next year… can Manti play at such a level every game like he flew to the ball that night?  If healthy, one could say reasonably believe so.  And Jamoris, a name we actually considered naming Shea until daddy's liquor and mommy's hospital meds wore off,  was a total revelation.   Let's hope he keeps that up next year…

But I'm giving the nod - not only for the game but for his consistency throughout the year - to Tyler Eifert  Game in, game out he was the model of consistency - I can remember only one drop (a bad one, granted, in the Stanford game on a Hendrix pass) and more often he was keeping drives alive and making Our Man Tommy look significantly less incompetent than he actually is.

Extra points  for a) being a Hoosier and b) staying another year, the latter symptomatic of a loyalty that Buddy would've really appreciated.

Schadenfreude of the Year.

      ·         LSU.  After being party to perhaps the most boring #1 vs. #2 Game of the Century during the regular season, you're forced to replay the game and you show up so small - unprepared, chaotic, uninspired, inept…  Bummer.  Welcome to our world, Baton Rouge.
      ·         Ohio State.  Ended the season 6-7  after losing the "We Used To Be Contenders" Bowl vs. Florida.  This would've been a lot sweeter had OSU not hired Urban and gotten off pretty lightly for Tat-gate.  Conspiracy theorists would say those two occurrences are not mutually exclusive.
      ·         Penn State.  Being happy that PSU got kicked by Houston - is that like kicking a man when they're already down?  I think not.  State College is a creepy, inbred place run for years by a despot who thought he was the moral compass for his cult.  Could it happen anywhere?  Probably.  But certainly not in this century.  Good school but I hope they cauterize the football program.
      ·         New England.  Truth be told I had no dog in the Super Bowl race, sadly.  But given that at the time of the game, daughter Ryan and I were benefitting from the largesse of Mr. Wills in Escondido, it was "Go G'ints!" all the way.  What I would say is this, New England:  the rest of the world gets tired of hearing about your Genius Coach and Robo-QB With The Super Model Wife even when neither of them call particular attention to themselves.  Yes, Eli looks like the dull witted lad who still mows your lawn even though he's 37 years old  - but golly, his mother is a really good friend of the family and it helps his self-esteem so what the hey, why not let him make a little money - but man, when it hits 4th Quarter, the guy can play.
Terry’s Tool Time.

The gift that keeps on giving...
People often approach me and ask, "You, who are so wise in these ways, what exactly makes a tool?  Is it Ignorance? Meanness?  Hubris?  Disingenuousness?" 

Yes. Yes. Yes.  And yes.  Being a tool takes effort* - you have to work at it.  And it's clear that these guys gave great thought to their

·         Todd Graham.  Pitt's head coach who quit after only one year, opting to let his team know via text.  You're the kind of coach I'd want my children playing for. Yeah, right.
·         Les Miles.  You cheat compete at the highest level year after year, almost always in the BCS hunt… was it really necessary to throw Gunnar Kiel under the bus for de-committing at the last moment?  As Lisa repeatedly says to me, "Who's the parent here?!"  I guess it really is true that character isn't made, it's revealed.
·         WR’s / DB’s.  Somewhat irrespective of the outcome of the games, watching football is supposed to be fun.  A pleasurable experience, reveling in the exploits of genetic freaks doing things one could only imagine.  And yet, increasingly, the diva-like behavior of the high profile skill positions just incenses me.  Who saw DeSean Jackson (on Monday Night Football) or Stevie Johnson… or for that matter, Golden Tate?  And the DB’s are no better.  One pass defensed and their arms start waving back and forth, their heads start bobbing up and down. Yap yap yap.  For just doing what they’re paid to do.  Well, in Terry World, they need to be corrected…  Feel The Wrath of Terry when my SWAT team kicks in, poised high atop the press box roof, little tripods set up…  losing a replay is going to be the least of their worries, Boy-o.
·         Brent Musburger.  I'm not a big fan of all the internet conspiracy theorists who believe every major media outlet - and their announcing minions - have it out for Notre Dame.  If we'd win, they'd jump on the bandwagon.  Until we do, deal with it.  But I simply just can't listen to this man's voice anymore.   Can't he just be… taken out?

*still trying to determine whether there is also a genetic element.

"Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye…"

Truth be told, one of my favorite parts of the Oscar telecast is when they scroll through This Year's Dead Guys…  they usually play an appropriately weepy Sarah McLaughlin song and this year, there were indeed some notable folks who left us.

But none more so than the father of one of own.  As perhaps all of you know by now, JP's dad,  Johnny "Vegas" McGuire left us a few weeks back.  It's not often that one can say they've met someone who is genuinely 'larger than life' but in my experience, Johnny was just that.  Irish as the day is long with a near pathological gift of gab, he wasn't just touched by the blarney stick, he was bludgeoned by damn thing.  (Probably could've filed a police report but no doubt he and his assailant would've only ended up in a bar, best friends, planning vacations together.) 

But to describe him only in social terms would be to ignore all the other incredible qualities of his life.  His home was your home, even when you arrive with walking pneumonia and end up sweating through every sheet in their house, (as I once did).

Great dad. Great husband. Great person.  Rare breed.  The world is far less enjoyable without you.


The Urban Strikes Back
To say that the Year in Recruiting had a roller coaster aspect to it would be a profound understatement.  Strong 2011 start - with stud commitments at positions of need (DB, WR), leveling off during the season as the elites took stock of the schools they're considering, followed by a disappointing 'crash and burn' with a few key defections on the final signing day, offset by late semi-surprising 4 and 5 star commitments at the QB / WR spots.

"If you win, they will come..."
What's abundantly clear, going forward, is this:  winning matters. A lot.   As much weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth that ND Nation directs at Urban Meyer (and oh boy, buckle up for a heavy dose of that guy!), the fact is he finishes strong because virtually every year his teams are in the BCS hunt.  As does LSU, Alabama, USC and this year, Michigan - 11 wins!  (Do you think they finished so well solely based on Brady Hoke's freakish Mike Golic likeness?) Teenagers have attention spans of gnats… come January, most are thinking "I wanna play early and I wanna play for a winner."   Right now, ND offers the former but is consistently shaky on the latter. It's a wonder how we've recruited as well as we have the past few years…

Final observations

As bizarre of a season as this past year was, it may largely be remembered as the beginning of the Early Referendum on Brian Kelly.  After 2010-11's promising close, expectations were high.  A ton of returning talent, an excellent recruiting class in key areas of need and the optimism that comes with the prospect of Year II continuity from a coaching staff entirely intact.  Instead, what we ultimately saw was the surprising bi-polar behavior of a coach who watched his senior players (Jonas Gray, Dayne Crist, Gary Gray, even Michael Floyd) self-destruct at the most inopportune times - and respond with, at best, unprofessional behavior… losing his cool on national TV, calling out (and possibly discriminating against) the prior regime's recruits and perhaps most egregiously, manifesting a dangerous, counterproductive double standard in evaluating the critical QB position.

The slate's now wiped clean. New year. 0-0 record.  What's it gonna be, coach?  How you going to be remembered?  Tough, savvy, in control… with 2011 being a one-time aberration? Or consistently unhinged and panicky on the largest media stage - clearly in over your head?

It's Never Too Early… the 2012 Schedule!

A couple observations:
·         I shudder to think if we don't start 2-0.
      ·         Michigan - the last year of seeing Denard. Great athlete but possibly the worst passing QB of any Top 25 team, T. Rees notwithstanding.  Will they come back to earth after a year where everything broke right?
      ·         Stanford - No more Luck and a depleted O-line, but it's hard to believe they're just going to collapse. Is catching 'em in October good or bad?
      ·         Oklahoma -  Landry Jones comes back. At Norman.  Eeek.
      ·         USC - Barkley returns and they're bowl eligible.  This season ending game is also typically when USC QB's win their Heisman's. But a lot can happen by that point so it's hard to predict the state of either team.  And they're still coached by Lane.

I speak for all of us all when I say that I look forward to Lini's statistical analysis of how we'll get to double digit wins.  Like any great writer, Jerry understands that facts are a writer's ultimate limiter and should be avoided at any cost.  I'm sure he'll live up to that guideline.


1     Navy (Dublin)
8     Purdue                                      
15   @MSU   
22   Michigan
29   OPEN                                     

6     Miami (Chgo)  LINIPALOOZA         
13   Stanford                                                
20   BYU
27   @Oklahoma           

3     Pittsburgh
10   @Boston College
17   Wake Forest
24   @USC

Week 12 (2011): A Tale of Two Andrews

First off, my sincere apologies for being so tardy with this, the penultimate column of the year.  One could say that, like our beloved football team, I ran out of gas a little short of the prescribed finish line.

“Love and Gluttony justify everything…”

I’ve always been a big fan of Oscar Wilde; much of what he observed still makes sense to me, appealing to my deeply cynical side, wickedly comic sensibilities and an unfortunate penchant for excess. And after ND’s performance against The Cardinal – get a team nickname that makes sense for god sakes – all I am left with is a sense “at least I have the love of friends and family” and “man, am I a glutton for punishment”.

Song of the Week                             

When Buddy and I used to walk the sylvan paradise that was our Walton-on-Thames neighborhood in SW London, we talked of many things.  Mostly, catty remarks as we looked in people’s windows during our nighttime circuit. Often  the conversation would turn to music… he was a particularly big fan of The Smiths, even giving me permission at one point to change his name to Morrissey. (I declined due to the complicated, multi-syllabic nature of the name – an unnecessary pronunciation challenge, I perceived, on those weekend walks when invariably I needed alcoholic sustenance to make the late evening stroll. At those particular times, yelling “hey Bud!” was about my limit.)

But I digress.

Buddy and The Smiths sprang readily to mind as I considered the state of the football program, post-Stanford.  But which song?  “Vicar In a Tutu”, Some Girls Are Bigger Than Others”, “Bigmouth Strikes Again”?  Sadly, too many of them had application. But one jumped out with laser-like relevance:

Girlfriend in a coma,
I know, I know it’s really serious…

Do you really think she’ll pull through?

At this point, it’s hard to make any argument that ND has turned any corner towards consistent excellence. In fact, probably being closer to a sad, stagnant coma state.

It’s possible that we’ve become the Cubs. 

So I have no idea if this program will pull through, to even a consistent Top 20 level. Recruiting seems consistently strong of late. And it’s certainly frustrating that other programs (read Michigan) seem to snap back quicker and easier than ours. And next year’s schedule doesn’t get any easier (please, Landry Jones, declare for the draft)...


      ·         Okay, The Cardinal seems to have come out in Texas Tech’s uniforms.  Hmmm. Maybe Stanford did some kind of hostile takeover as a B-school exercise.
o   And what color is that anyway?  I’d be inclined to say ‘wine’ but for a school that once had the nickname “The Robber Barons” I’m guessing they’d say, Shiraz or Pinot (definitely not Merlot!) or if they’re feeling euro, Rioja or Amarone…  pretentious tools.
"Aged in Orkney for 16 years, this golden
malt delivers a sweet silky-smooth
heather-honey taste perfectly balanced..."

     ·         Scapa, ‘the’ Orcadian – from the Sanctuary of the Scapa Flow, is tonight’s surprise starter at Terry’s single malt position.  Here’s hoping Kelly is channeling my innovative, ‘mix it up – go for it’ spirit…

Observations from The Game

    ·         Tommy’s starting.  Drat.
    ·         Two plays, two false starts.  Good to see our veteran O-line remains poised as ever.
    ·         Bash!  “Stay down, Tommy, stay down!”
    ·         Hendrix in!  Too soon!  I can’t switch to gin this quickly!
    ·         Cierre blasts through the line, only to have the hole filled by… Mike Golic.  Well, there’s one less 5th year scholarship decision we have to make.
    ·         Stanford plays a thuggish game, Harbaugh football. And I’m kind of jealous.
    ·         Rees could not outrun Buddy (and he’s 3’ under the ground).
    ·         And he looks totally ‘deer in the headlights’. Sad, actually. If he keeps getting hit anymore, he’s going to become a modern day, John Merrick. And not just because his face’ll be as misshapen as The Elephant Man’s…  I can see him cowering in a corner, concussed, slurring “I’m not an animal Quarterback, I’m a human beeeeeiiiiinnnngggg…”  Oh, the pathos.
    ·         Hendrix looks a million times tougher than, well, everyone else on ND.  Robo-QB.
    ·         That turf is a disgrace. What exactly are they doing with their endowment? No doubt spending it on over-priced, self-absorbed ‘scholars’… (sorry, Tim).
"It's not a lie if you yourself believe it ..."
    ·         1:38 left, Q2 – Rees INT.  Does Kelly really think he’s their best chance to win?

    ·         2nd Half:  Enter The Once and Future King.. all hail Andrew!
    ·         Quote of the Night, Kirk Herbstreit on Kelly:  “He makes me nervous.”   Join the club, Kirk.
    ·         Boy he’s a got a freaking cannon for an arm. With absolutely zero touch.
    ·         Clearly our RB’s were not a part of the earlier quoted 85% of the team who changed to longer cleats.
    ·         Is it me or does it look like Hendrix’ passes getting to the receivers a lot quicker than they’re used to? 
    ·         Andrew deserves a better O-line effort than he’s getting tonight.
    ·         Q4, 4:35 left – if Harbaugh were coach, he’d still be passing.
    ·         Luck stiff arms Ishaq Williams and keeps moving on.  Welcome to the big time, kid.
If Saturday’s Game was a movie poster, it’d be… “Armageddon.”

                                   "Earth. It Was Fun While It Lasted."             

Vapid. Self-indulgent.  An insult to the intelligence of anyone not in a coma state.  Not even worthy of Dr. Tím Tím’s scornful “it’s rubbish… pabulum for the masses” label.  

Oh yeah, and that lame Bruce Willis, Ben Affleck movie was awful too.

But the tailgaters this year were awesome.

Word of the Week

Saturnine    sat·ur·nine
adj \ˈsa-tər-ˌnīn\

1.       born under or influenced astrologically by the planet Saturn
2.       cold and steady in mood : slow to act or change
3.       of a gloomy or surly disposition
4.       having a sardonic aspect <a saturnine smile>

First Known Use of SATURNINE
·         15th century

Used in a sentence… “The Notre Dame fan base was saturnine after the team’s disappointing performance in front of yet another end-of-season national audience.”

Synonyms: black, bleak, cheerless, chill, Cimmerian, cloudy, cold, comfortless, dark, darkening, depressing, depressive, desolate, dire, disconsolate, dismal, drear, dreary, elegiac, forlorn, funereal, glum, godforsaken, gray, lonely, lonesome, lugubrious, miserable, morbid, morose, murky, plutonian, gloomy, sepulchral, solemn, somber, sullen, sunless, tenebrific, tenebrous, wretched

Antonyms: bright, cheerful, cheering, cheery, comforting, cordial, festive, friendly, gay, heartwarming, sunshiny

Week XII   BUDDY Award.
 I can’t tell you how badly I wanted Tommy to win this award. And that was even before I departed for the Orkney Islands.  Of course, that quixotic dream ended after, what, ND’s 2nd offensive play?  I also can’t tell you for how long it appeared there’d be no winner. But then came the 2nd half and the only reason I was even remotely sanguine about this loss:  Andrew Hendrix.  He was tough as nails, Tebow-like (without all the religious proselytizing).  He’s got a rocket for an arm and his misses didn’t seem the results of bad decisions, just bad throws one could reasonably expect from lack of play time. Ultimately, one got a glimpse of the Kelly spread offense demonstrating its potential.  

"Briiiaaan, you got a lot of esplainin' to do..."
Now why we’re seeing this in the 2nd half of the last game is a question for the off season. For this week, Andrew Hendrix is my focus, and for his not-insignificant contribution of optimism, he’s this week’s BUDDY award winner.

Schadenfreude of the Week.
"I christen thee the SS Weis..."
      Florida.  Could Charlie Weis be the college football version of the mythical Flying Dutchman? Moving, ghost-like (if a man of his girth can truly move that way), from program to program... never making port, never finding success? Legend had it the sighting of the ship was a portent of doom.  Charlie’s size makes him tough to miss. Bummer for Florida.  Especially when Urban starts syphoning off the Florida recruits that used to be slam dunks.

·         Oklahoma.  And we think our team comes out unprepared?!  The Sooners get pasted 44-10 to their in-state rival!  (And when does anyone starting harrumphing about Bob Stoops?)
·         Texas.  Speaking of coaches who suddenly find themselves the subject of firing speculation, “Mack Brown, come on down!”  No one in the country has an easier time recruiting – every March at your Junior Day, you get 18 commitments on the spot – and yet, post-Vince Young you’re getting crushed 48-24 by Baylor. Baylor.  Team Branch Davidian!
·         Ohio State.  Now that Urban’s safely ensconced in the OSU program, it’s probably wise to enjoy their mediocrity while it lasts.   And I did.
Terry’s Tool Time.

"To hell with a Jumbotron,
ND's next capital improvement..."
·        WR’s / DB’s.  Somewhat irrespective of the outcome of the games, watching football is supposed to be fun.  A pleasurable experience, reveling in the exploits of genetic freaks doing things one could only imagine.  And yet, increasingly, the diva-like behavior of the high profile skill positions just incense me.  Who saw DeSean Jackson recently (on Monday Night Football) or Stevie Johnson… or for that matter, Golden Tate?  And the DB’s are no better.  One pass defensed and their arms start waving back and forth, their heads start bobbing up and down. Yap yap yap.  For just doing what they’re paid to do.  Well, in Terry World, they need to be corrected…  Feel The Wrath of Terry when my SWAT kicks in, poised high atop the press box roof, little tripods set up…  losing a replay is going to be the least of their worries, Boy-o.

"You're not here to bring me my brat, are you?"
·         Brent Musburger.  There’s a pivotal scene in “How The Grinch Stole Christmas” where after many years away from Whoville, he’s reunited with the spinster women that so lovingly raised him. Poignantly, he asks, “Are you two still alive?!”   And after listening to Brent call the 1st half, I had the same question. (Followed immediately by, “why?”)  It also led me to amend the game day job description of my SWAT team to include Half Time Ninja, whose sole additional responsibility would be to creep down and I stealth mode, take out the offending announcer. (As determined by a fast email poll of this group.)

Non Sequitar of the Week

"At least these Chicago cartographers got the 'Black Hole' part right..."
The Big East grants admittance to Boise State, San Diego State for football only membership and Houston, SMU and Central Florida as full members.  Huh? This makes sense only if Australia and New Zealand is being annexed by the NCAA…

And we wonder why the rest of the world mocks of our knowledge of geography.


Answers to Last Week’s Quiz
Which luminaries on this distribution list lived in the following estates during their college years? 

Final observations

Last week, in one of South Park’s most compelling dramas in recent memory,  Eric Cartman fakes having Tourette’s Syndrome to in effect, give himself a free pass for saying the most scatological (and anti-Semitic) things that pop into his head.  It’s an experience he finds to be increasingly liberating – living a life without the bourgeois necessity of an internal filter! How great is that?! Well, Cartman learns, to disastrous effect, that ultimately the lack of a filter has a downside, leading to embarrassing admissions of bed wetting, mutual wiener touching w his cousin and of course, faking Tourette’s Syndrome.  Riveting TV with powerful life lessons for us all.

And may I just say at this point that the content of “South Park”, at times, is truly unbelievable?

"I'm your kind of recruit, coach Kelly..."
At any rate, I bring this up because this year is about to close with probably more questions about Brian Kelly than when maybe he started two years ago.  Starting with which coach is he – the smart, media savvy one who ‘gets’ ND.  Or the purple faced one afflicted with Tourette’s who blurts out divisive public comments about his upper class – and starts a QB so patently imperfect for his offense?

Damned if I know. But I think you can take this to the bank:  short of a PSU-like scandal, he’s our guy for the next three years.  And I, for one, still think he can do it.

But if Rees plays more than a half of that bowl game, I will be revising my opinion.

2011 Schedule.

3     South Florida                     L
10   @Michigan (NIGHT)              L
17   MSU     LINIPALOOZA!!      W
24   @Pitt                                 W
1     @Purdue (NIGHT)     W
8     Air Force                 W
15   OPEN
22   USC                         L   
29   Navy                        W
5     @Wake Forest          W
12   @Maryland (D.C.)      W
19   Boston College        W
26   @Stanford (NIGHT)    L

2011 Wager status
"And The Mayans foretold that an unlikely Oracle shall appear from western PA...."

Nonetheless, congrats to the Team 8 realists, especially back-to-back winner Alvin, who clearly saw what the rest of us chose to ignore. (I was so sure Jerry’s “A Case For 11 Wins” had a factual basis.)

May I suggest you use your winnings to buy some of the drugs that my brother Kevin was clearly on when he made his undefeated forecast?